Sunday, May 31, 2009

Friday, May 29, 2009

Holding Steady...

Mark is in a "happy place" for tonight. He is still on varying levels/combinations of meds for his blood pressure, but no more scares like last night. He is more responsive and following commands again. (Squeezing the nurse's hand on command, etc)
Hopefully we will have more good news tomorrow. Keep turning it around Mark!

All It Takes....

Matthew 17:20
If you have faith as small as a mustard seed... Nothing will be impossible for you.
Let us all join together in an hour of prayer for Mark at 7:00 PM Central time (Nashville)/8:00 Pm Eastern time(Cleveland, Florida, Knoxville.) Please everyone pray tonight for Mark, uniting together. The Dr's say these are critical days for him. Pray or light a candle for his complete healing, that
1). infection will GO AWAY, once and for all,
2). that his kidneys and heart and all his vital organs will remain functioning normally.
3) that he will continue to amaze everyone and walk out of that hospital, smiling!
4) that comfort and peace will surround us all...Mark, Kim, the entire family and all of Mark's loyal friends and followers.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Mark's blood pressure and all other vitals have now stabilized. Although, doctors say this could change at any moment (which we have all witnessed). Cardiologist said his heart is "physicaly fine". The concern is his fluid input/output being out of balance. This was causing stress to his heart. During this latest hurdle, Mark was put on 3 different blood pressure medications. One has been stopped, the other is being stepped down. Goal is to only be on the original (Levo.) medication, which he has been on and off of since the beginning. So, for now..Mark has "turned it around" yet again. Continue praying away the infection, as this still remains a major concern. Thanks for all the prayers and support. God certainly is with Mark, giving him strength to clear each hurdle. What a miracle my brother is!

Time To Turn It Back Around, Mark!

Mark's blood pressure has been dropping too low. Presently there has been a team working with him to bring it back up, cardiologist has been called in. Doctor's say he may not pull through this one, but we have heard this before and Mark has turned it back around. Please pray for Mark now and spread the word. He desperately needs God to help him over this new hurdle. Keep up the good fight, Mark! We love you, Brother!

Still Waiting...

There is no news yet on the much awaited information regarding Mark's new skin. The removal of the packing will not happen until today now. Dr Guy describes the process as very slow and tedious. It will likely take many hours, and may even be done over two days. This is due to the still very delicate nature of the new skin.
We also still await the most recent blood culture results. As of yesterday afternoon, Dr Guy said it was still pending.
All else remains stable. Hopefully today will be a day of good news.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

May 26, 2009

Mark has remained unchanged for the most part over the past couple of days. His vitals are all remaining stable, and kidney function holding steady.
There were blood samples taken again this morning for cultures. All previous cultures have shown no response to any antibiotics.
Tomorrow is the one week point from the placement of the cloned skin. They have been removing the outer dressings for large portions of each day to allow it to air out, leaving just the thin layer of gauze in place. While this is occurring, Mark is in isolation. No one is allowed in or out of his room, and he can only be observed through the glass doors to his room. Dr Guy says from what he has been able to see so far, it is looking good. But tomorrow will be the big day when he takes off the packing to reveal the progression of his healing. Based on his findings, the determination will be made of how much movement will be allowed. For the last week Mark has had to remain flat on his back, with absolutely no unnecessary movement to prevent the tearing of the fragile new skin.
So let us all pray that tomorrow holds much good news. First, good acceptance of the new skin. Second, no infections. Alright Mark...let's keep 'em talking. Time to give them another reason to call you remarkable!!!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

May 23, 2009

Mark is holding steady. They had to start him back on the blood pressure med last night. They had tried to give him some sedation prior to doing his wound care, and that caused his blood pressure to drop. They restarted his blood pressure med and brought it back up right away, but he is still on it this afternoon. Temperature, heart rate, and kidney function all remain stable as well.
They did start him on the new antibiotic last night. He was receiving his second dose during our visit this morning. Hopefully we will have good news in the next day or so about it's effect on the infection. KEEP FIGHTIN' IT MARK!

Friday, May 22, 2009

May 22, 2009

We had a great visit with Mark tonight. He is more responsive than he has been in previous days. And I think he quite enjoyed the rendition of Rocky Top Shannon and I performed for him. He is mouthing words again, he said "bye," "love you," and was asking for water. He was also nodding his head yes and no.
He is now completely off of the blood pressure meds, and vitals are holding steady. Temperature is back to normal as well. Kidney function is good.
The major concern continues to be the infections. We are still awaiting the start of the new antibiotic mixture.

Six Weeks and Staying Strong!

During this morning's visit, Mark remained somewhat sedated (to help healing of cloned skin grafts). He was, however, tracking our movement outside the doors and lifted his arm and was mouthing words in an effort to let us know he needed suctioning. His vitals remain stable, his temperature tends to go too low and they're still using heat lamps to warm him up. His kidney output has improved:) Use of lasix to increase output is being used and this also effects his blood pressure (decreasing it). Infection control Dr said yesterday that his status remains unchanged in regards to infection. A new mix of antibiotics was to be started, but, unsure of when. Please continue your prayers focusing on Mark kicking this infection once and for all and for his continued strength. A new line was placed last night to monitor Mark's heart funtion, as a precautionary move. Mark contines to amaze us all, he is reMARKable! Let us all band together and wish him an extraordinary recovery. Please send cards and mail...the address is on blogspot, already. Mark has been reminded of all of his faithful followers on his blogspot. He smiled when he was told the numbers! Keep showing off, have everyone's attention!!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Miraculous Mark!!!

Mark came through surgery without complications...all vitals stable. AMEN! Now we wait...

He is back in his room, and he will be kept heavily sedated for the next several days. Currently his temperature is very low. (93 F) So they have him wrapped and completely covered, even his head, with blankets.
The skin they placed today covers his chest/torso, and is extremely delicate. Paper thin. It will be crucial that he not be moved or disturbed in the coming days to increase the chances of the graft being successful. Dr Guy says that these type of grafts typically have a 50% success rate, and for the ones that have been done at Vanderbilt, they have had an 80% success rate. But Mark hasn't payed any attention to scientific numbers from the beginning anyway, now has he?
His kidney function is not well. Dialysis may be necessary in the very near future, though they will put it off as long as they can due to the increased risk of infection that the lines would present.
The infectious disease doctor says the infection is still not responding to the antibiotics. The antibiotic that should be used to treat the particular infection he has is ineffective due to the resistance his body has built against it. So they are having to use a less than ideal antibiotic in hopes of getting a response well enough to manage the infection. They are taking cultures frequently and waiting to see a response.
Dr Guy repeated what he had said last week...he had not expected Mark to make it beyond 48 hours, and with everything he has overcome thus far, he is "remarkable." He said it is his opinion that Mark has survived because he has chosen to, and because of his faith. Keep the faith Mark! You WILL beat this!

11:00 AM

Just got an update from the nurse...Dr Guy says surgery is going well so far...

Surgery Underway, 9:00 AM

Mark was taken down to the O.R. about 8:10 am, and Dr Guy just went down about 20 minutes ago. So surgery should be underway at this time. Dr Guy has the O.R. booked until 2:00 pm, and said it may or may not take full time. I will post updates as I am made aware. Hang in there Mark...Be strong!

Surgery Day

(as dictated by Amy)
Mark is not in a very happy place today. Yesterday morning around 5:30 am his heart stopped beating. They immediately started chest compressions and pushed meds to restart it. Within a matter of minutes, they were able to restore his pulse. The doctor believes that this is due to his blood infection. This is the same infection he had previously, but it was treatable with antibiotics. The infection is now resisting the antibiotics. Kidney function still remains a concern. The doctor says the surgery for today must go on as planned....even though there is great concern about the extra stress this will put on Mark's body. The surgery is scheduled for 8:00 am (Central Time), and we are told it will last several hours. The procedure was explained to us as carefully pieceing together about 54 playing card sized pieces of skin.

On a positive note the college decided to award Mark his degree in engineering based upon his outstanding efforts and grades since he was already close to completion before the accident. CONGRATULATIONS, Mark!!

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Sunday, May 17

Mark seemed a little tired at this mornings visit. He wasn't as responsive as he was with us yesterday. The nurses had decorated the bandages on his head with an orange UT logo...looked like he was wearing a UT beanie.
The nephrologist says that his kidneys are holding steady. Not getting any worse, not getting any better. The infectious disease doctor was also in this morning and said that they are checking his blood daily to monitor the new infection there. After checking with the nephrologist in regards the his kidney function, they have decided to put Mark on a stronger antibiotic. (Amikacin) This will be hard on his kidneys, but necessary to help him kick this infection.
The grafting that was done last week is still looking good. After that surgery, they had given him two units of blood in anticipation of him bleeding out after they removed his packing, yet when they did he bled very little.
He is still only on the ventilator at night, to allow him to rest. He is still off of the blood pressure meds, and vitals are holding steady. His temperature fluctuates, it was 35.8 C this morning. (96.4 F) He is sitting up in a chair during physical therapy for an hour or so at a time now.
He has a communication board now so he can try to point to words/letters to let us know what he wants to say, but he doesn't care much for using it. He wants to do things his way, and he wants to talk.
The surgery for the cloned skin is in 3 days. At this point, unless something changes, it will be placed on his chest only for now.
The doctors and medical staff continue to be amazed by Mark's progress and determination. Dr Guy said last week that he hadn't expected Mark to make it three days, let alone to be where he is now and accomplishing the things he has. So keep it up keep showing off and keep 'em talking!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Five Weeks

I went in to see Mark this morning, and it was a great visit! His level of communication is getting worlds better. He is still unable to produce sound because of his trach, though that doesn't stop him from trying. We were actually able to understand most of what he was telling us this visit.
The physical therapist has been getting him up into a chair, and having him stand up. Mark has even taken a couple of small steps for them!
He has been off of his blood pressure meds for 2 days now, and all is going well in relation to his vitals. His surgery is still on for this Wednesday.
Mark's progress is amazing! While visiting him this morning, I made reference to a phrase that Mark and I started at a UT football game one time..."It's time to turn it around." When I said that today he responded by very clearly mouthing the words "We are" and smiled. GO MARK!!!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

May 12, 2009

The past couple of days have been good overall for Mark. After having a bit of a rough day on Sunday, he is back to responding and trying to communicate. On Saturday night/Sunday morning, his temperature had dropped to 35.4 C (95.7 F) and he was placed under the heat lamps again. Also he wasn't as responsive as he had been. His blood pressure was, and continues to be a challenge to keep under control.
It appears that in spite of the "big gun" antibiotics he has been on, there is a new infection. Also, because of the amount of time he has been on the strong antibiotics already, his kidneys are starting to be affected. The course of antibiotics must continue, with the possibility of dialysis if the need arises.
So far, the skin that was grafted onto his leg on Friday appears to be doing well. All is still on track for the placement of the cloned skin next Wednesday, May 20. That's the big day!!!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Four Weeks

Today makes four weeks...and how far Mark has come!!!

His surgery went successfully this morning. It took three and a half hours, and went without complications. I was however given misinformation as to the details of what was to be done today. Rather than grafting from his scalp to cover his knees and elbows, the grafted skin was used to cover the entire front of his right leg. With this placement, the percentage of his body remaining to be covered is now down to 85%. Every 3-4 weeks, after the healthy skin regenerates from the harvested areas, they will repeat this process to eventually cover all extremities. The date has also been set for the placement of the cloned skin. On May 20th the skin will be placed on his trunk. His back will be covered last, as it will be the most difficult to successfully graft.
I can't wait to see him in the morning! I will post any new developments as I know of them.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Big Day Tomorrow

Tomorrow will make 4 weeks. Every day has been another hurdle, and another miracle.
Mark will be going into surgery again tomorrow. The time has not yet been set, but as soon as I have info I will pass it along. This round, Dr Guy will be grafting skin from Mark's scalp to cover his knees and elbows. Using grafted skin in those areas will allow for greater flexibility and range of motion.
The doctors have been taking Mark completely off of the ventilator during the day, reconnecting only to allow him to rest. His temp has remained stable, no fevers or dips in body temperature. His blood pressure has been a bit of a concern as they are trying to wean him off of the meds.
The infectious disease doctor gave word yesterday that his infections are responding to the antibiotics and "looking good."
Beyond all of the clinical details, Mark is progressing amazingly! He is more responsive every day. He wants so badly to talk, and tries to communicate the best he can. He tried to write today, but still not quite coordinated enough to form words...but at the pace he's been going, he'll be writing a novel by tomorrow!

Monday, May 4, 2009

What a Day!!

Mark is progressing by leaps and bounds! During visitation this morning, the Physical Therapist came by to work with Mark. She had him sitting up in a chair today. Mom told him she was so excited she wanted to give him a big "bear hug." He then reached out with both arms towards her. Due to risk of infection, the hugs will unfortunately have to wait, so he settled for waving to her. But the even bigger news...when the therapist had him sitting on the side of the bed, he kept rocking back and forth. The therapist ask him if he was trying to stand up, and he nodded yes. Then HE DID!!! Only momentarily, but he stood! Is my brother amazing or what?!?